CHICAGO - First Colonial Bankshares Corp. said it had reached definitive agreement to buy two Illinois banking companies-Hi-Bancorp Inc. and GNP Bancorp Inc. - for $24 million in cash.

Hi-Bancorp has $87 million of assets and owns Bank of Highwood. GNP has $75 million of assets and owns New Century Bank of Mundelein. First Colonial's assets total $1.6 billion.

Five banking locations would be added to its current 23. The merger "will further expand our presence in the north and northwest suburbs" of Chicago, said Robert F. Sherman, president and CEO. Shareholder and regulatory approvals are required.

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